Needs of female offenders with substance misuse issues: offenders' and service workers' perspectives
Findlay, Claire Louise
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Findlay, C. (2016) Needs of female offenders with substance misuse issues: offenders' and service workers' perspectives, no. 116.
Background Female prisoners in Scotland have been found to have higher levels of drug dependence when compared too male prisoners. Females require gender-specific interventions designed to address their needs. Many of the services that women encounter within the prison sector are not designed to address the needs of female offenders. Aims The study aims to assess female offenders' and service workers' perception of needs from prison addiction services. The study intends to investigate ways in which prison addiction services can be adapted to support clients with their recovery journey. The study also aims to identify barriers that prevent female substance users from accessing treatment whilst in custody. Method The research was conducted within Scotland's only national establishment for women HMP (Her Majesty's Prison) &YOI (Young Offenders Institution) Cornton Vale. Five female offenders and five prison addiction workers were interviewed using semi-structured interviews. The data were transcribed and thereafter analysed using thematic analysis. 4 Results The study highlighted some of the key needs of female offenders with substance misuse issues. Six key themes were identified for female offenders: need for intensive support; importance of gender-specific provision; need for person-centred provision and choice; service provision is outdated; importance of through care, and barriers to treatment. Five key themes were identified for service workers: need for more communication and collaborative working; importance of gender-specific provision; service provision needs reviewed; improve access to psychological therapies, and barriers to delivering service. Conclusion The findings identified both female offenders' and prison addiction workers' views on treatment needs, interventions and potential barriers to treatment. The study highlighted the need for prison addiction services to develop interventions that take into consideration the demographics and history of female offenders.